Poetic Spam


In many ways, the spam messages I have receiving by the dozens every day do not differ from the avalanche of advertising messages I encounter during my everyday life. A visit at the supermarket, a brief ride in the tube, a leisure stroll at the Southbank and I am constantly bombarded with messages. Everything is perfect in the advertising world. Families exist in harmony: the dad is a successful business entrepreneur, the mother is able to balance her busy career and family life, the kids are constantly smiling and the house appears tidy and spotless. This exuberant picture is completed by the latest offering of a detergent  able to wash better,  the latest version of toilet paper or other unimportant product.

In contrast, spam mail messages do not paint a world in harmony, but a world in disarray, unless you seek solace in the product advertised. You are not complete without a prestigious degree from a famous university, the latest fake designer bag or luxury watch and you may not keep a proper relationship unless you sport a bigger size … and we are not talking about perfume bottles here. While in advertising, there are a number of tricks – colourful and sensual images, clever catchphrases and sometimes sound and motion – the only communication vehicle of the spam message is the subject line. The way it is written can make the difference between reading the message or dismissing the content without reading it.

Writing the perfect and the most appropriate subject line for the spam messages might in many ways resemble the creative process that is being followed in the big agencies to advertise chocolates and crisps. You will need, after all, to discover inventive ways to catch the attention of your victim without betraying the existence of the spam. Sometimes the subject lines fools you that this message is somethings you are expecting, sometimes it avoids common words detected by spam filters by changing letters for numbers. But most of the times, the subject line strikes a chord with something more intimate: the feeling of guilt.

The company I work for recently moved offices. While setting the new computer systems, they delayed activation of spam filters for the company’s email system, and as a result, we were inundated with spam messages everyday for at least a month. While most of my colleagues dismissed them at once, the subject lines of those spam messages caught my attention. Here are some of the subject lines of those messages:

Believe us women care about your size down there.
Every inch of your manhood proves that you are a real man.
Empower your darling night adventures.
I CAN is way more important than IQ – so get that little pill.
Now women will bring you coffee to bed in gratitude of the night.
Perform in bed like you are in your twenties again.
Reconstruct your male friend and you will love the changes.
Your immature undeveloped friend is really bugging you?
Your tool is so small she scarcely finds it in bed?

And many variations of the common theme of the above subject lines. However, it got really interesting when I realised that among the usual ones some small gems lay hidden characterised by their rhyming character:

Men will see your power in every public shower.
It easier to slide when you have gigantic pride.
Women will be funk when they see your trunk.
Now you don’t have to be depressed over men who are well-blessed.
Take a big important stride – add some inches to your pride.
You will be mega cool if you get a bigger tool.
Are you sick because the size of your stick?
Women will divulge the beauty of your bulge.
Now you will not detest men who are from nature blessed.
Give her pleasure with every stroke – we assure you it’s no joke.

But while we may delight reading a book or looking at advertisements, why do we easily dismiss the content of the spam messages, even though they use similar vehicles of expression and marketing techniques? Probably because of the brutal evasion of our personal space. Books, magazines and billboards are not parts of our personal space.  Advertisements can, therefore, be seen and disregarded just by turning the page or focusing our attention  somewhere else.  But an spam message appearing on our personal inbox is a vulgar intrusion of our personal space, something unwanted and very difficult to let go by. Immediate action is being called to remove the offending material from our world forever.

And the balance in our little world is momentarily restored – momentarily, before we receive the next spam message.


[pictures © LambdaPhage].


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